May 2, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beginning in the early morning of Saturday, May 8, 1999, Rick Webb, general partner of the Archenemy Record Company and guitarist/vocalist for Rockets Burst from the Streetlamps will be holding a four day long "Bed-In for Later T Operation" in his Allston, Ma home.
Inspired by talks with his roommate Dave Thompson, guitarist for the Boston band The Pills, as well as their mutual reading of a biography of John Lennon, Webb will be staying in bed to promote one of his favorite political causes, the extended operating hours of the Boston public transportation system, the T.
"Its more lazy-activism than self promotion," says Webb with a laugh. "A lot of my friends are always going on about how slothful I am, and we thought we’d try and turn that into something useful. Hopefully this will get this spell of doldrums out of my system and raise political awareness of this problem at the same time."
No one seems to know exactly why, but the T closes down somewhere around 1 AM each night, even though Boston’s bars are open until 2AM. For years, rumors have abounded around Boston about why the T closes down when it does. Papers around town have printed theories, editorials, and exposés exploring the issue. Rumors have ranged from conspiracies in the taxi industry, the decaying state of the T and it’s constant need for repairs, to discrimination against college students and the poor, who are perceived to need T access more.
"I don’t really have an answer to why we have this problem, I don’t pretend to understand it fully. But I do feel that whatever the reason, it basically amounts to politics, and that we’re playing a dangerous game with people’s lives, and I think that something needs to be done about it. This time discrepancy is negligent and dangerous, effectively sanctioning drunk driving. Without the T operating, Boston’s bar-goers are left with two alternatives, a taxi, which can be expensive, especially for people who work in Boston’s bars and nightclubs, or to drive their cars.
"It’s inconceivable to say that no one has ever driven home drunk from a Boston bar, and it’s unimaginable that at least some of them would have preferred to take the T if the option was offered to them. Not to sound too corny, but if even one person dies from this situation, which is certainly possible, the moral costs of this system are too high.
"I obviously don’t think this will solve the problem," Webb says, "and it’s not like I have a John Lennon complex or anything, I just think that this town’s always glossing over this problem, ignoring it. And I wanted to stay in bed for a few days. It seemed like a good match."
The Boston Globe has recently reported that the T may be receiving forward funding in the upcoming years – that is, the state government will advance the T it’s operating budget, and then recoup the money throughout the year from token sales. This is in contrast to the current system, where the T pays for its operations through token sales throughout the year. Concurrent with this change in financing, the T may see a rise in fares from $0.85 to $1.50 over the next five years. Much of this additional funding is to go to modernization and maintenance of the oldest subway in America. If this is the case, Webb argues, some of that money should go to extending the operating hours to at least coincide with the bar hours, say, until 3AM. Webb believes the public, or at least a large segment of it, would be willing to pay slightly more for longer hours.
Rick Webb’s bed-in for later T operating hours will commence the morning of Saturday May, 8th and run through Wednesday, May 12th, in the afternoon. Although he expects little press-attention, Webb is following Lennon’s example by welcoming the press on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday afternoons, 2PM to 7PM. For more information contact Rick Webb, at (617) 254-4709 or e-mail Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out the bed-in website, where Rick will be posting updates over the course of the four days: http://www.stodgy.com/bedin.